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29 Valuable Lessons We’ve Learned From Scaling Micro DTC Brands In The Last 4 Years

 

A portrait of Kris Sugatan

Written by Kris Sugatan 
CEO & Founder of Sugatan
May 12, 2022

 

The eCommerce industry as a whole has matured exponentially over the last four years and Sugatan along with it. I recall saying to our founders back in the summer of 2020: 

“The big brands with their big budgets haven’t gotten wind of the velocity that we can scale these micro DTC brands and capture their market share, but very soon they will and when they do they’ll pour their budgets in, CPMs will rise and it’ll be a much tougher landscape.”  

And today, here we are. Hundreds of millions have been raised through private-equity firms and investment banks investing in eCommerce brands–all amidst a pandemic, a massive algorithm disruption, U.S. tariffs hiked up 6x on Chinese exports, social media disruptions like TikTok, and market volatility that’s causing shifts in consumers’ buying intent and demand. 

And so… we figured it was time to release the lessons we’ve learned as the things that continue to stay true for us despite the turbulence we’ve faced. 

As all of the variables continue to shift we’ll continue adding on to these, but for now, here are the 29 valuable lessons we’ve learned from scaling micro DTC brands from the team who has been in the trenches the last few years and concluding with my own reflections.  

 

Table of Contents

Lessons Learned By Our Video Ad Strategists

 

1. Find founders that are proactive, not reactive

 

Holly Rae Fischer

Holly Rae Fischer, Video Ads Director

Working with founders that are proactive instead of reactive is one of those most important ingredients for scaling. 

Founders who tend to act from a place of panic begin making demands that ultimately kill any chances of scaling with us. 

It’s very important to work with founders who believe in you as much as you believe in them.

Mutual respect and trust are non-negotiables for entering any kind of partnership with founders. 

That trust allows us to make important decisions that move the needle without delays, and it minimizes micro-management or endless feedback loops/requests. 

So, identifying those who are 100% willing to collaborate, solve problems efficiently, and let us do what we do best, is the first and most important step to success.

 

2. Solidify the boundaries for creative control alongside the founder’s brand vision

 

Haley Rebennack Headshot

Haley Rebennack, Video Strategist

No efforts from creative teams will come to fruition if a brand is consistently holding them back by retaining ALL creative control. 

This boils down to learning how to navigate trust and creative freedom when working with both macro, big-budget brands, and micro brands. 

It is inevitable that at some point a founder and their vision of the brand will put the ego of the brand above human nature. At Sugatan, our strategies all stem from human behavior– that’s how we produce viral ads. 

High-performing ads are all about understanding the people you are marketing to, but at some point, the ads we make or the strategies we use may not exactly align with a brand’s persona.

This is why it’s important that a conversation about creative control needs to happen early on.

In this age specifically, where TikTok fuels most of the social media content across the board, we see the most success from brands who know how to let go of control.

Letting go of control doesn’t need to be all-encompassing, but should allow enough freedom to work with the channels and people they serve.

Rather than taking a “brand-first” approach, ads should put people first.

As a brand, ask yourself, “What will make people attracted to us?”

A lesson about what customers want

 

3. Shorter (AKA simpler) video content is better

 

Dominic La Rondie

Dominic La Rondie, Video Strategist

The psychology towards video content has changed since COVID-19 hit.

This is partly due to the fact that people had more time to consume social media content during lockdown periods, but mostly because people have become fatigued from the sheer bombardment of videos (particularly negative topics) during that time.

This has resulted in a video marketing philosophy of “simpler is better” which relays to “shorter is better”. The less copy, the better too.

Nowadays if a person sees that a video ad exceeds ten seconds, they are more inclined to skip it.

The solution is to make your content more efficient and quick to grasp.

Shorter and simpler also means not focusing on explaining or showing every single aspect, feature, or benefit of the product, but giving just enough information to pique the viewer’s curiosity so they want to find out more.

 

4. Convince the viewer to convince themself

 

Your content shouldn’t need to shout “I’m the best, buy me!” It should visually (and efficiently) show the viewer and convince them why they need your product, and leave the decision up to them.

Educate the viewer in a way that they feel empowered to decide to make a purchase instead of being overly “salesy”.

You can avoid falling into the “salesy” trap by not adding a logo to your ad or not having a call to action on the ad itself, and placing the CTA in the caption/ad copy instead.

That’s why your footage is so important. If you can produce footage that shows a benefit without having to say a word about it, you’ve won half the battle of confidently yet subtly convincing a viewer that the product is good.

 

5. Entertain first, sell second

 

Entertainment plays a huge part in grabbing and keeping attention. It also helps build a rapport between the product/brand and the audience.

The last thing you want is for a product or brand to be associated with annoyance or irritation because of the nature of their ads.

That irritation can occur due to tiny video editing errors such as poorly timed transitions in correlation with copy on-screen, poor audio, poor song choice, and a multitude of other reasons.

What is considered “entertaining” varies for different age groups and demographics, so it’s not always about being funny or shocking.

Sometimes it can be as simple as showing how flexible a shoe is by bending it all the way back and having it pop back to its proper shape, or digging your fingers deep into a pot of face cream to show how satisfying it feels.

Even something as simple as high-quality footage can be entertaining in and of itself because it’s visually appealing.

Think of entertainment as the missile and your product’s benefits being the warhead. You want to package the benefits in an entertainment shell to have the biggest impact.

Entertainment missile

 

6. Let go of your ego

 

As a creator/producer of ad content, you have to let go of your ego and stop focusing on what you think makes a good ad or video.

Get into the mindset of searching for clues to figure out what the audience will resonate with.

If an ad performs well, it’s not because you created an amazing ad. It’s because all the pieces of the puzzle came together perfectly: the colors, composition, graphics, footage, and copy.

Dominic calls his technique for optimizing ads “pulling the thread”.

Once an ad or two start showing potential, analyze why they performed well and break it into pieces (threads) such as the length, opening shot, transitions, sound, copy, visual treatment, and so on.

Ask yourself, “What worked and what can be repurposed to test again in another ad?”

 

Lessons Learned By Our Head of Agile/GFX Director

 

7. Keep your communication stream flowing

 

Maryna Taiberman

Maryna Taiberman, Head of Agile & Graphics Director

Every team inside Sugatan follows Scrum/Agile frameworks to ensure we align the team that will be working on a specific account with a set cadence and communication stream. 

Because we need to achieve results fast, communication needs to happen readily and without any obstacles. 

Whenever a positive signal is perceived on an ad test, the findings need to be communicated or recorded so everyone involved can learn from it and optimize accordingly. 

Those same lessons could also prove valuable in other accounts, so it’s important to keep track of all the data and incorporate it into future projects to keep improving our own creative strategies.

At our core, we’re the needle movers, which is why we’re constantly innovating for all our accounts.

Sharing knowledge such as lessons from viral ads, positive signals, and findings from new creative tests across teams is vital for continuous growth inside Sugatan and for our clients.

We’ve found that Margaret Wheatley’s leadership principles perfectly summarize teamwork and the importance of open communication.

A Leadership Principles Graphic

 

8. Adjust the Scrum framework to suit your team’s needs

 

You don’t need daily stand-up meetings if it’s not actively helping your team. 

We’re a remote agency with people working in different time zones, so we’ve found that daily stand-ups can’t always happen at the optimal time for everyone in the team. Some people simply aren’t “morning people” and that’s okay.

The most important Scrum meetings for us are sprint planning, product backlog, data analysis, and feedback calls. These calls provide alignment and transparency between everyone in the team. 

In our own de-synchronized manner, we still ensure that we are all moving towards the same goal at the end of the day. 

(You can read more about the value of Scrum here.)

 

9. Adhering to strict naming conventions will improve data-tracking

 

We developed a very detailed and specific naming convention for all our projects (ads, ad sets, etc.) in order to keep track of exactly what was successful or what didn’t work for every ad. 

Our naming convention includes fields like which angle was used for the copy, when it was created/went live, whether it’s a graphic or video ad, UGC or hi-fi content, what epic it’s part of, what product was advertised, who the influencer was (if any), which URL it directs to, who created it, etc. 

Here’s an example:

Sugatan Naming Convention

Basically, every decision that was made for a certain ad will be visible simply by looking at the name. 

This way we can keep track of everything, gauge exactly which ads went viral and why, and understand the results that came from making certain decisions– all at a glance.

 

10. Be an advocate for learning and career growth

 

In terms of Design Team management and assignment, it’s not just about choosing the right fit for the account or brand for us.

It’s very much about giving every team member the chance to learn and keeping communication transparent, fast, and solution-oriented.

We’re all about innovation and improvement at Sugatan. We want to make sure our designers are constantly learning, and not just learning externally but more so internally from experience and from teamwork i.e. from each other.

Think about it this way. If you’re always putting the “most senior” designers on accounts, how will your juniors ever learn?

We also look at our team members’ personal interests when assigning them to accounts.

For example, if a designer is interested in skincare, they will automatically be inclined to produce better results for those kinds of brands because they have a genuine interest in it and they are already knowledgable about the niche.

 

Lessons Learned By Our Graphic Strategist

 

11. Be direct with your customers

 

Oleksandra Hruzynska, Graphic Designer & Strategist

Oleksandra Hruzynska, Graphic Designer & Strategist

Be as direct as possible in your ads. Ask yourself, “How can my product help a person?” or “What problem does it solve?”

Then show the customer exactly how your product answers those questions.

In our experience with scaling micro DTC brands, we noticed that the ads that push both emotional and practical benefits perform the best.

Large-budget brands that have already made big names for themselves can afford to go with a more aesthetic-focused approach and can get away with using metaphorical language.

 

12. Make your product irresistible with high-quality photography

 

Even small brands with low budgets need high-quality product photography.

People have to desire your product, they need to look at it and want to own it. Proper product photography is the answer!

High-quality photography adds credibility in the eyes of a customer and it will help you expand on more channels like email or Pinterest too because you’ll have workable assets that can be repurposed in various ways.

 

13. Give back to your customers

 

A consumer will always appreciate small tokens of appreciation for their loyalty and support, whether that be a discount on a subscription, bundled discounts, free shipping, a money-back guarantee as an additional advantage, or via a referral program.

It also shows people that they’re not losing extra money or time by trying your products.

We created a referral program for one of our previous clients that raked in an extra $50K in revenue in just 6 months.

 

Lessons Learned By Our Head Of Growth

 

Bonus: You can watch Matas explain each of his lessons in more detail in this video

When we look at the businesses we’ve scaled, and the ones that are scaling right now, there are always only about three big needle movers–three big decisions– that make all the difference and double or triple the monthly revenue.

There are always going to be a million little things that you want to do perfectly or improve upon.

But in the end, all of those little things sap your energy, time, and resources whereas you only need to focus your time and energy on the three most important decisions that will actually move the needle.

When you realize what those three decisions out of a hundred are, the effect or scalability of those decisions will cover the 99 other things that are missing or need improvement. Therefore…

 

14. Your energy investment is more important than your dollar value investment

 

Matas Kemzura

Matas Kemzūra, Head of Growth

In general, when you think about business, the first thing that comes to mind is that you need to invest a certain amount of money into it, and sooner or later you expect to get a certain amount of money back. 

But what is far more important than that is the amount of energy and time you invest into the business and the return you get on that. 

If you protect your energy investment first and your dollar investment second, you’ll have more time to focus on the most important decisions–the actual needle movers–and the dollar return will follow.

 

15. Understand market intent to become a proactive ad buyer

 

The market dictates the terms.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing $5MM a month or $10MM a month, you’ll still be a peasant compared to the market and the market will always dictate the terms.

The biggest needle mover for Matas was mastering his understanding of what market intent is and how it intends to move.

Market intent is always moving like a stock market chart or crypto chart does. It goes up and down, reaching peaks and lows.

Market Intent Graph

The best way to visualize intent to buy is by analyzing the timeframes between when people are inclined to open their wallets to make purchases (high points on the graph) in comparison to when people are less inclined to make purchases (low points on the graph).

The lower points on the graph indicate times when it is harder to sell or to convince people to make purchases.

For example, people are more inclined to spend money right after they receive their paychecks but not as willing to buy in the weeks prior to getting paid.

This is extremely important to understand because everything in ad buying is really about timing.

Let’s say you have a million-dollar marketing budget that you’re willing to spend. Most people would distribute that budget evenly or similarly throughout the coming weeks or months, except, of course, in Q4 when everybody knows sales will go up.

But if you understand the importance of timing and the trends in market intent by diving super deep into the data, you’ll be able to predict when people will be more likely to buy weeks and months ahead of time.

Most ad buyers or companies react to the present where they should be looking toward the future and planning ahead.

They will look at their current ROAS and will increase the budget when it’s going well or decrease the budget when ROAS is dipping, but by being reactive (in the present) instead of proactive (future-minded), they’re giving away all of their control.

It takes time to fully understand market intent on a deep level. It took Matas about 3 years to master this from analyzing hundreds of Shopify accounts and their sales graphs.

That’s because market intent is not just about the obvious, big calendar events like summer holidays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. There are smaller factors that shift market intent on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis.

You need to analyze an enormous amount of data to fully grasp how and when it fluctuates.

And remember, it’s not about looking at the dollar values. Look at the percentages of how much sales have increased or decreased from month to month and you’ll start to recognize patterns and benchmarks.

Everything in life is a series of cycles and patterns. The same goes for the economy and the market, and of course, market intent.

Different niches might have slightly varying timeframes but overall there is a general pattern that the market follows on a global scale.

Once you grasp this and use it in your budget allocation/management, you’ve unlocked the biggest secret to scaling that there is.

On top of good creatives, strategies, and everything else that goes into digital marketing, this is what really scales because you’ll always be one step ahead instead of playing catch-up in the present.

The real power lies in being able to increase or decrease your budgets before the change in market intent occurs.

 

16. Make peace with your daily struggles

 

You have to make peace with the fact that your daily problems, issues, and struggles–all of the bad things that happen to you–are normal and it’s all part of life’s patterns and cycles.

If you want to be great–the best–or simply want to grow, you have to start appreciating the negative moments in life as much as you appreciate the good things.

You need to see the bad as opportunities for learning and growth.

Instead of saying “Oh no, why is this happening to me?” say “Hell yeah, this is happening to me!”

Hell yeah meme

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to solve any issues or problems in your life or business, but make sure they don’t consume you along the way.

Once you make peace with this, you’ll have less stress and your level of performance will go up.

 

17. Commit to your decisions

 

It is extremely important to commit to your decisions and wait them out.

Even if you commit to a decision and fail, don’t give up on the decision. A short-term loss can be turned into a long-term victory.

At Sugatan, we encourage people to make mistakes or to fail, as long as they learn from them and never make the same mistake twice.

You have to be okay with being a loser short-term but remind yourself that you’re never going to lose long-term.

So, why should you commit to your decisions even when they end up going on a downward trajectory?

Because it’s an opportunity to learn and improve. For example, if you’re an ad buyer and you made a budgeting error, your instinct will be to jump in and change whatever you think went wrong immediately (being reactive to the present or past).

But this creates more chaos and pressure because you’ve now stopped midway through your commitment and you’re not seeing the whole process through, so you’re also stopping your own opportunity to learn something in its tracks.

Instead, you’re starting a new process that is already doomed to fail.

The best lessons are learned from seeing your failures through and having the opportunity to analyze every aspect of what went wrong and its repercussions.

 

18. Your customer’s emotions are what’s most important

 

It’s not about your product, it’s about your customer’s emotions.

Think about why Coca-Cola never advertises its product’s benefits or ingredients. They advertise an emotion that their product brings to their consumers.

In the end, people don’t buy the product. They buy the solution or emotion it gives them (solutions are tied to emotions).

Strategies and hacks don’t really matter. What matters is your audience– their needs, pain, and desires. They will dictate your own unique strategy or hack.

Don’t fall into the trap of looking toward what’s working for others and trying to copy it instead of first fundamentally understanding why it’s working for their customers.

Get into the psyche of your own audience and focus on serving ads that touch their emotions.

This quote by Blair Warren says it all.

Quote by Blair Warren

You will only stay ahead of your competition and scale higher if you focus more on your own audience and innovate your own strategy that is unique to your product or service instead of focusing on your competition.

 

19. Ad buying is really all about fooling the algorithm

 

All ad buying really is, is finding winning setups to fool the algorithm for better ranking and better costs.

Setups refer to different layers– different combinations of different layers of optimizations.

For example, an ad buyer might have just one ad with a set audience and no other ads or audiences to test. They might say they don’t have any real testing opportunities but they’re wrong.

Testing ads is not just about having different ads (creatives) to test but it is more about testing your budget management tactics than anything else.

The audience doesn’t matter as much as you think. The only thing that truly matters is fooling the algorithm and manipulating the algorithm to give you better conditions than it’s giving to others–even if you have the same resources and the same budget.

You have to look at the correlation between your cost and your value–how much does it cost to bring people in and what is the quality of that audience?

It’s really about the correlations between different levels of metrics.

You have your higher-level metrics like AOV, CR, and cost per visitor and then you have channel-specific correlations of metrics between CPM, CPC, and CTR.

Apart from ROAS, it’s not about looking at the numbers at all. It’s about looking at the percentages–the correlation between the metrics.

Your benchmarks shouldn’t be based on numbers, instead, they should be based on percentages or the relationships between the metrics.

When it comes to ROAS, your business structure and numbers will determine what your KPI ROAS should be.

2x ROAS could be amazing for one company but horrid for another depending on their revenue, marketing budget, etc.

As a baseline, we consider 2-2.5x ROAS as “good” ROAS but as a rule of thumb, you should try and keep it as low as possible to optimize your business.

 

20. Look at your own data to find the answers you’re looking for

 

The majority of the answers to the questions we’re all asking ourselves lie within our own data.

It’s important to see patterns and cycles in everything you do and keep your emotions at bay when trying to problem-solve or recognize areas for improvement within your data patterns.

Emotions and opinions can become traps in business because at the end of the day the only effective decision-making factors are clear arguments that can be backed up by data.

Stay grounded and be realistic. No matter how bad or how great a situation is, remember “this too shall pass.”

 

Lessons Learned By Our Media Buyer

 

21. Understand the numbers and how to work with them

 

Rui Silva

Rui Silva, Media Buyer

“He or she who can afford to spend the most to acquire a new customer wins.”

This quote is used by many marketers and it couldn’t be more true.

It is very important that a founder of a DTC brand is aware of all the numbers involved in their company and that they seek to optimize all their costs and metrics over time so they can spend more to acquire customers.

On the backend, you can work on lowering SG&A (selling, general and administrative expenses) and COGs (cost of goods sold).

Looking for more efficient ways to manage the company and negotiating prices with suppliers will greatly impact how much you can spend on marketing.

On the front-end, you need to work on two key metrics: AOV (average order value) and CR (conversion rate).

Let’s imagine that our total ROAS or MER (marketing efficiency ratio) target is 3x monthly.

In the first month, our AOV was $100, we spent $40K on ads and had 1000 sales, which gave us a total revenue of $100K at a total ROAS of 2.5x. So, we were below our target.

In the second month, we made 1000 sales again, we also spent $40K on ads but we managed to improve our AOV from $100 to $120, meaning we got a total of $120K revenue. Now our total ROAS is 3x and we can scale sustainably.

Reducing the costs associated with managing a company and working on all the metrics that make more users buy, and in greater quantity, is fundamental to the growth of a brand.

 

22. Sell the benefit, not the feature

 

The best ads are the ones that sell the product’s benefit and not its features.

Consumers want to know the material of the product, the functions it has, how long it lasts, etc., but above all, they want to know how a product will impact their lives.

That is why ads that stir emotions are top-performers.

When we talk about benefits, some are more obvious than others. For a skincare brand, an obvious benefit would be hydrated skin.

But even the most common objects have benefits too. Take shoes, for example. We can say that certain leather shoes are comfortable and have a timeless design. Or we can say, “With these shoes, you’ll feel like you’re wearing your most comfortable pair of sneakers and you’ll get tired of hearing compliments wherever you go.”

We wrote about our success with scaling a shoe brand a while ago. Read it here to see how one ad generated over $970K in revenue to date–all thanks to communicating a major benefit.

Dress Shoes That Feel Like Sneakers

 

23. Your speed of testing determines your speed of growth

 

A brand can scale overnight if it gets the product, offer, and ads right on the first try. But for the most part, it takes time and involves a lot of failed tests to get the intended results.

This is especially true if we are talking about paid media channels like Facebook and TikTok.

You need a talented and dedicated ad buyer to manage your ad account budgets and test structures.

You also need a team that produces ads every week to increase the probability of success.

Creatives are at the core of paid social channels, and success on these platforms will largely depend on how many creatives you test each month.

The faster this process goes, the faster you will learn which types of creatives your audience resonates with to generate better results, and the faster you can create optimizations and variations of your successful creatives to maximize your ad accounts.

This is also how you fight advertising saturation. After showing the same ad to the same people many times over, the ad will stop grabbing attention. So, it is important to release new content regularly.

 

24. Keep innovating new products

 

One of the best ways to scale a brand is to launch new products.

Being aware of your market and competitors will help you improve your products so they become even more desirable, or it will even help you to innovate and launch a brand-new product.

However, the best new products, or improvements to existing products, are those that are created based on the needs of your consumers or potential consumers.

Paying attention to emails, comments, and phone calls from people interested in your brand will reveal patterns that can become opportunities.

We recently created a new variation of a product for one of our brands, and we’re in the process of creating a second one, because we realized there are people who didn’t buy the original product for two main reasons.

From a store with only seven items, this new variation sold 600 units in just ten days and is now the second best-selling item every day. With the second variation, we anticipate even higher sales volumes.

 

25. Keep your finger on the pulse of your budget, patterns, and tests

 

We all know that paid social media results depend on the algorithm and creatives, but a good ad buyer will take those two aspects into turbo mode.

Not being mindful of ad accounts and not looking at results every day will hurt your potential to scale.

When we manage an ad account on Facebook or TikTok, there are three fundamental things we monitor: Budget, Patterns, and Tests.

 

Budget 

Knowing what percentage to distribute in top-of-the-funnel campaigns is extremely important.

Retargeting and testing are also essential to getting the most out of every dollar spent on platforms.

You should know when to kill an ad or not. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on an ad that won’t meet the required KPIs in the hope that it will work if you increase the budget.

But you also don’t want to spend too little money only to realize the potential of an ad later on, essentially missing out on a money cow.

Lessons learned

When managing more than one paid media channel simultaneously, the distribution can become even more complex. That’s why you need to keep your finger on the pulse at all times.

 

Patterns

After some time, you will start to identify patterns that you should take advantage of to generate better results.

For example, we noticed that with certain clients there are days when the costs to advertise are cheaper, and on those days we could increase the spend on the ad accounts to almost double while maintaining the same return.

Another example is realizing that ads that use a certain color, headline, person, or other elements, perform better than others.

It is very important that the person who is managing the ad accounts transmits this to the design team to create new ads that take those performance indicators into account.

 

Tests

Testing creatives is mandatory when running ads on social media, but there are loads of other things that can be tested because each account reacts differently. 

For example, you can test audiences, location, ages, attribution, dynamic ads, placements, optimization for ad delivery, and many other aspects. 

Once you have a list of the things that work best for a specific account, and you start allocating your budget accordingly, you’re set to grow.

 

My Lessons Learned 

 

26. Don’t act out of fear

 

Kris Sugatan

Kris Sugatan, Founder & CEO

Over the last four years, I noticed that when a fear plants itself in the mind of anyone with clout in the organization, it festers into a cancer.

Pressure mounts, stress escalates, and productive energy shifts into a heaviness in the air, causing more fear, uncertainty, and anxiety that perpetuates itself.

The only way the pressure eases is when one person bears that burden onto him/herself and guides the team through.

But when faced with many problems and when the organization can’t design a way to offset fears in a distributed and scalable way, it becomes too much for one person to bear and a severe burnout occurs.

I’ve learned over time that neither fear nor optimism will guarantee a good outcome.

But fear does make the entire process miserable for everyone involved and accelerates the death of a project more so in comparison to optimism, negatively impacting the culture along the way.

In contrast, optimism produces creative synergy, collaborative ideas, and an elevated state within the group dynamic which also perpetuates itself.

And so… I’ll share with you my own personal methodology to offset my own fears, which has been tested to its limit lately.

When you feel a high level of anxiety, nervousness, etc., run towards it, study it intellectually, let the emotion move through you and then lasso that motherfucker.

The process of doing so is paying attention to your body which is signaling to you when fearful thoughts are striking the self by triggering your nervous system.

Take the time to step back and ask yourself why you’re panicking, feeling anxious, etc., and persist until an underlying programmed belief has surfaced to your intellectual self that can study the belief.

Is it still true? Or was that a programming that served you before but no longer serves you in the direction you’re trying to go?

The most important part of this process is that you’re consciously choosing your beliefs and therefore, moving through your life and your body of work intentionally.

Once you bring your programmed beliefs into consciousness and rewire them to serve who you are today, commit to always acting in true accordance with who you authentically are whether or not you think the outcome will veer in your favor or not.

At the end of the day, you go to bed with yourself and what the world thinks of you doesn’t matter because they’re variables you can never control. You can only control the state of the self.

 

27. Always be extremely clear on your Why and enjoy life’s zigzags whilst journeying there 

 

Being extremely clear on your Why is hard because most people believe that you have to commit to that for the rest of your life.

Give yourself permission to allow it to be dynamic and fluid, however, always be clear on your Why today and pay attention to what you find yourself always choosing.

That specific thing that keeps popping up is an indicator that it’s something you value and is rooted in the essence of who you are.

Your Why can be either quantitative or qualitative, but it’s best when it’s both and equal in weighted value.

Understanding your why

Quantitative Whys are things like, “I will make the decision to go into this venture because I want to make $1MM per year.” And you work your ass off until you make $1MM per year.

Qualitative Whys are things like, “I will make the decision to go into this venture because I enjoy learning, pushing myself, and working with others who are just as passionate as I am.” And you work in your ideal state of being.

When I’m cognizant that my Whys are straddling both quantitative and qualitative domains while ‘businessing’ (business by design forces us to emphasize the quantitative, i.e. money/revenue); personally, I experience a richness and fulfillment in life that colors the landscapes I’m painting.

As we know, building or creating anything is not a straight line but a whole bunch of zigzags along the way.

When faced with a zig… gag, laugh, and playfully zag. Just go with the dance, while always keeping your eye on the prize.

 

28. Allow others to influence you yet always think independently

 

This can be a tough one to balance, but it’s allowing yourself to be open to others’ perspectives and then taking that information to see if that sits right with you, your goals, and your Whys.

There are a thousand ways to get to the same destination.

If five people were instructed to memorize one book that taught them how to build a boat from A-Z, and each of them independently built the boat from what they learned, you’d get five different boats.

On top of that, we’re in a period where we’re being forced to ask, “Is a boat even necessary in the first place?”

As you navigate through these incredibly fast-evolving, innovative periods when you’re bombarded with so many differing opinions, beliefs, case studies, and information from the media, your peers, your friends, and colleagues; it’s important that you take in the information but always match it to where you are, rooting and centering your decisions back to you, your goals and your Whys.

 

29. Lastly, don’t take what we say as ‘The Ultimate Playbook or Roadmap’ to anything that’ll solve your problems

 

Reread the previous lesson. Keep experimenting, document your learnings, and let’s compare notes. That’s what forms a strong community.

At the end of the day, all that matters are the people and the meaningful relationships you’ve cultivated through this dramedy called life, and in our attempt to create and build something decent to offer to our communities.

 

What have you learned?

 

We love sharing what we’ve learned with our community (that’s you) but what we love even more is gaining insight from you too and opening up a conversation where we can all learn and benefit from each other.

Let us know on social media or comment below to share some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from working in the eCommerce industry, as a brand owner, or digital marketer.

 

 

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